Every community on the planet supports missionaries. On the most basic level, everyone deeply approves of something, and there is an inescapable desire to advocate for, and convert others to, the same set of beliefs. Some have clearly defined criteria for evaluating whether or not they will endorse and support someone, while others take a loosey-goosey approach.
What follows is ECPC’s criteria for endorsing and supporting missionaries:
Do they love to eat the Bible? Do they daily feed their inner-man on Scripture? Is the Bible the most delectable and indispensable sustenance in their lives? Do they sincerely sense their desperation, and feel their profound need of Jesus? Do they savor/relish the lavish love of God for them? Do they genuinely slaughter their selfishness, and do they desire and strive to deliberately serve selves besides themselves?
Titus 1:9 says, “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Ask the candidate, “What is ‘Sound Doctrine’?” …have the candidate describe the qualities and characteristics of ‘sound doctrine.’
Are they an involved and invested member of a local, Christ-centered/Gospel-Saturated, church? Who is appointing, assigning, and sending them? Who holds them accountable? Is the bride and body of Jesus at the heart of their mission (as it was at the heart of Jesus’ mission)? Is the Bride and Body of Christ explicitly emphasized in their mission? Ask the candidate, “How are you personally involved and invested in the familial life, and kingdom work, of the local church?” Ask the candidate, “How do you emphasize the significance of the local church in your service to others, and how do you practically attempt to involve and invest people in the life of the local church?” What’s their vision? …is the church, and church planting, primary (i.e. the wife, and treasured possession, of Jesus)?
Does the candidate “resolve to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified”? (i.e. is the mission laser focused on Christ-crucified)? Is the candidate genuinely willing to suffer wrong & be defrauded with, and because of, Jesus (1 Cor. 6:7)? Does the “Good News” indispensably include personally and intimately SAVORING Jesus as bridegroom and best friend?
Marriage, Family, Feasting
Is there a substantive sense in which we can reasonably expect to have life together with them now? Is there a realistic and viable opportunity to maintain a familial relationship and interaction with them once they are on/in the field? How will the flock/family of East CLT Pres. practically be connected, involved, and invested with this missionary and their work? How will ECPC’s investment go beyond “Money & Moments”?
What are the details (and what is the depth) of their cultural awareness and readiness? How thoroughly and qualitatively have they been trained for their mission (past, present, and future)? What is their structure and plan for accomplishing their mission? What are the primary Goals of their mission? What is their paradigm and plan for leadership development? How will they pursue the worthwhile proliferation of Word & deed? What are the main burn-out risks? To what extent are they (and their family/team) emotionally prepared? Is there a clear internal and external call? Are they financially prepared?